Best days gaming ever?

Posted: September 26, 2010 in PS3

I’m tired, I ache all over & I’m mentally fatigued.

What have I been doing? Gardening? Some much needed home DIY? A half marathon? No, I’ve been playing F1 2010 on the PS3.

As silly as my opening statement may appear to be, it’s actually true.

That’s not to say I’m a 30 stone calorie addict with a 40-a-day habit who’s sole source of exercise is the long shuffle to the fridge, I’m of average height/weight/laziness who drags his uninspiring carcass to work every weekday & runs about after two ‘adorable’ children when at home.

Today, however, the Mrs was kind enough to give me the whole day to spend time with what she refers to as my ‘toys’. Of course she is simply a woman & therefore does not understand the complexities of modern-day gaming and the effort and time required to partake in such a rewarding pastime. I’m sure she’ll be grateful for all the time and cash I’ve ‘wasted’ on my ‘toys’ once the zombie invasion arrives and – thanks to skills I have acquired over the last couple of decades – we’re the only ‘living’ people left in the village, giggling at the window of our heavily fortified semi whilst watching the next door neighbour fighting a Jack-Russell for the left hand of the old bloke from number 20.

Anyway, I digress. Thanks to a criminally under-marketed Logitech GT Force wheel & a hastily constructed driving seat, I spent around seven hours flying around the greatest tracks the world has to offer inside the pinnacle of motor engineering.

This isn't the pinnacle of motor-engineering

I found the wheel for £79.99, at first glance quite a hefty investment for a peripheral but look at the bigger picture and it’s an absolute bargain. Not only did it breath new life into £40+ games which I’d long since tired of and shelved, it also opened up a whole back catalogue of pre-owned cheapness which are more enjoyable today with the wheel than they would have been at four times the price on release without one (I’m looking at you GRID).
If you’ve not used a wheel for a while I know what you’re thinking as I thought the same. I’ve tried them before on PS2 & early in the 360’s life and they were nothing short of useless. Spin the wheel and push the pedals to move the car sounds like what you need but in reality it makes the game more difficult, you feel a bit silly and ultimately the game feels no more realistic than if you stuck a helmet on and asked the Mrs to interview you about the upcoming race. Again, that just makes you feel a bit silly, probably.
The arrival of F1 2010 on PS3 has turned a driving set-up from a luxury to a must-have for fans of the racing genre. Stick it in cockpit view, turn up the sub and immerse yourself in the biggest motor-sport in the world. If you’re a single player you’ll be hard pushed to find a better racing game. It’s fast, precise, difficult and rewarding.

However, I’m very much a ‘party’ gamer, not in the ‘fishing for spaceships with a white block of plastic’ kind-of party gamer you understand, but I’m lucky enough to have a Wife who allows me to have the boys round on a Friday evening for some end of the week wind down time, and this is where F1 2010 falls rather painfully on it’s arse.

In the Time-Trial menu I was very happy to see a ‘Party Time Trial’ option and was eager to try it out when the weekend rolled round. Now I don’t want to nit-pick here, but surely a ‘party’ mode should allow you to at least enter the participants names? Not in this game.

Player 1, Player 2 etc are the only options available, and with 6 or 7 people partaking who have consumed a few choice beverages, remembering their own names sometimes poses a problem, let-alone what number player they are. And those same (slightly inebriated) folks usually have absolutely zero chance of completing a lap without running off the track and thus invalidating their time. Which brings me to my biggest annoyance of the local multiplayer mode in F1 2010. How on earth does cutting a corner, or indeed simply clipping the barrier, halfway through a lap impact on the following lap? I don’t know either, but Codemasters thinks it does. So within a few corners you could have invalidated your times on your current lap AND the following one! I’d understand if it was the last corner which you’d just cut which gave you increased speed on the pit straight but knocking your tyre on the hoarding in Monaco should not mean that your current lap doesn’t count, never-mind the next one!
If you want a good single-player (or online) racing game you will not find better than F1 2010 right now. Throw in a good wheel set-up and you’ll be in driving heaven. Outside of the arcade it’s one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had and even though some may say I was sat in a bodged car seat with a subwoofer stuck underneath and a couple of speakers nailed onto the back staring at a TV screen, flapping my feet around and spinning a plastic wheel, my brain won’t accept that. No. I’ve travelled around the world today, beaten (and crashed into) some of the worlds top drivers at speeds approaching 200 mph and I have the bruises & blisters to prove it. This is what I have been looking for since I taped a circular metal lid from a tin of ‘Quality Streets’ chocolates to my micro-switched joystick in a doomed attempt to make ‘Lotus Challenge’ on the ST more realistic. This is why I’m still gaming after a quarter of a century and this is why (wife and the reaper allowing) I will be for another few decades.
Thanks for reading my ramblings, I’m off for another go!


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